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Seokmunsan Submitted on September 30th, 2007 by skinsk Print
Type: Rock Climbs Province: Jeollanam-Do City: Gwangju
Park: n/a Rating: 5.7 - 5.11 Style: Traditional
Views: 5934 Photos: 10 Photo(s) - Add Photos Maps: 10 Image(s) - Add Images

The vertical (give or take) faces, corners, roofs with numerous crack systems. . . comprising Seokmun Amjang (climbing wall) rise 8-20 meters from the small, but scenic Seokmunsan (163.3m), affording several easily protected (and several less-easily protected!) trad climbs or TRs. There are some old pitons/bolts (many rusting)-- of varying quality, but also plenty of natural pro. Since the best (by far) approach is up the back and around, I'd recommend setting up a top anchor and rapping the intended route to scope first!

Seokmunsan lies in the westernmost part of Gwangju, Gwangsan-gu, which has a much more gun-y than gu-y feel, and is not easily accessed by public transportation. From National Road 22 in Gwangju (exit EPWY 25 at Gwangsan IC, and head S to get there; it's near the airport) head West towards Hampyeong. Pass Honam University (on your right) and take the exit for Provincial Road 831 to Naju/Samgeo-dong. The exit is on your right, but you'll go under the national road and head S towards Naju on 831. Drive along the scenic road several kilometers, past Hojeon Hospital on your right, until you come to a wide 3 way intersection (see navigational photo). . . there's a Nong-hyup Bank to your left-- turn left and go across the bridge. Shortly, you'll pass the Samdonam Elementary School, and just after that you'll see the stone marking the turnoff to Gwaneumsa (temple) on the mountain itself. Take this right, and continue up the road until you see the turnoff right to the minbak/farmstay. If you're not staying here, you might choose to park just below or just above at a pull out. You'll have to walk on the road thru the minbak/farmstay and as you follow the road, the rocks are apparent. There's a huge boulder to your left and a bridge to your right leading to a cemetary. cross the bridge and walk on the edge along the cemetary until you see the obvious trail. It goes behind the crag-- you can head off left at anytime to go to the top, or continue around to get to the base. There are other trails marked in Korean as hiking trails, but these are a bit overgrown and lose, and the back trail is the closest, easiest and only one recommended! From parking it's 15 minutes or so.

Safety Concerns
Some loose rocks, dirty/mossy cracks and old pitons (this place was developed by a Gwangju organization, Modeung Alpine Club). It's "lush" and buggy, and recommended for cooler, dryer weather. I'd defintely back up the old gear, while rusting, it looked solid but I couldn't (in 3 articles on this place) find a date for the area's development!

Gear to Bring
Long slings to set up anchors and topropes and all the trad geat you've got. From fingers to chimneys, there's a lot of crack in a relatively small area! A 50m rope is all you need.

Additional Comments
This place will appeal to crack addicts, or even those who want to practice placing gear (on TR!) who also appreciate getting away from it all! While technically in Gwangju, Gwangsan-gu is the most recently incorporated part of the city and has a distinctly rural nature. From the half-dozen locals who assisted me in finding the crag to the folks who run the min-bak/farmstay at the base, friendliness reigns. If you come, be respectful. Consider staying at the minbak/farmstay, or at least have a drink or dinner there (they are brilliantly set up for apres climb indulgences, with outdoor seating overlooking a small lake! There's an old coffee/drink machine at the minbak, and food and drink available there, but the last place for purchases is at the turnoff from 831.

A super easy and short approach makes hauling all your gear a less-intimidating prospect, and some interesting cracks, if a little short and unused (er, dirty) holds a certain appeal.

I wouldn't come in late spring-early-fall, though, as it's a bit overgrown, moist and buggy. The location in Jeonnam, though, means it's likely climbable on sunny days year round!

Comment added by steveinkorea on June 6th, 2013
The minbak is serviced by the 97 which you can catch from near the train station in gwangsan gu. The stop is called Daesan (대산). The crag is overgrown, as are its trails. If you want to climb here bring pants for the trail (maybe a machete if you don't mind the weight). There are not many or perhaps not any useful anchors remaining, and not much in the way of natural protection on the ridge of the crag.
Most of any climbs you find here will involve substantial scrubbing/clearing, especially the now plant-filled cracks.

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